Artisan Bakery by Akasha Life – a social business opens its doors in Nepal

December 14, 2023

Akasha Life is a social business with the purpose to sustain life and to support its foundation. Profits of the social business support the projects of Akasha Academy in the fields of education, environmental protection, health promotion and women empowerment. The first local initiative is the Akasha Artisan Bakery opening in Suntakhan near Kathmandu/Nepal.

It smells of fresh baked goods, the trays are rattling, the oven is hot – the Akasha Artisan Bakery has opened in Nepal! The bakery is the first entity of the social business Akasha Life. It creates job opportunities for local youth, especially women, and provides locally produced, nutritious snacks. With these, we aim to raise awareness for healthy nutrition for children at local schools.

Creating job opportunities for women in Nepal

Empowering women is a core aspect of our work. Education, space to develop one’s skills, and career opportunities play an important role in achieving that. With the bakery, we offer job opportunities for youth, especially women, to find their own path in life and to become financially independent. Depending on their own interests and circumstances, the bakery offers possibilities to work as bakers, in marketing and in administration.

Among the bakers are two ladies from this year’s Akasha Traineeship – Anju and Rojina. They are happy to have the opportunity to generate their own income and to further develop their skills.

Raising awareness about healthy nutrition

Besides creating job opportunities, quality baked products contribute to raising awareness for healthy nutrition. Our bread, for example, is produced with long leavening times for better digestibility and taste. Our ingredients include jaggery as an alternative sweetener and spices like ginger, turmeric and cinnamon that enhance digestion and offer health benefits.

We support local production and consumption and carefully select our ingredients accordingly. In the future, we aim to create further synergies by growing our own crops on our model farm for regenerative agriculture.

We also aim to offer healthy snacks at affordable rates for children at local schools. It is common that many children rely on highly processed food due to the lack of alternatives and they do not know about the negative impact on health. Therefore, we are also planning to do workshops about healthy nutrition in schools.

Realizing the bakery

A lot has happened in the last few months with the support of our partners and volunteers. Close to the Akasha Academy headquarters in Suntakhan, we found a calm and green place for the bakery. With the renovation of the rooms and the purchase of the first equipment such as an oven, a kneading machine and a fridge, the bakery began to manifest physically. By mid-September, we could already start baking our first breads and pastries with our excited bakery team.

Our bakers Anju and Rojina had previously received a 4-weeks training at a bakery in Kathmandu, Boudha. Now it was the time to get familiar with the new equipment and the new recipes. We developed a range of products from bread, baguettes and buns over cinnamon rolls, muffins and cake to cookies and power bars.

At the first handover of new winter school uniforms, 200 children enjoyed the treats from the bakery.
Our motivated team also sends greetings from the British School in Lalitpur. We were able to take part in the Fair-Trade Christmas Bazaar.

The Next Steps

Now that the registration of the social business is complete, the next step is to reach out to potential customers and to set up an appropriate administrative structure. The baked goods will be produced on demand and delivered to our customers. Starting with a team of four – Anju, Rojina, Anil and Sabin, two more Traineeship graduates join the team to also cover marketing and administrative tasks.

In the last few weeks, the Akasha Artisan homemade birthday cake has already become a hit. Still, there is a way to go until the bakery stands on its own two feet. Further financial support contributes to

  • the purchase of further equipment such as a freezer,
  • paying the wages of our motivated team until the bakery is self-sustaining,
  • supplying school children with healthy snacks and offering workshops about healthy nutrition at schools and
  • supporting young women with receiving further training.

We are grateful for all your support, be it financial or by sharing one’s knowledge and expertise. Thank you to Simon who did not only help us with sharing his experience on running a bakery in Nepal but also offering training for Anju and Rojina. Also, many thanks to Robert, who supported the bakery with setting up the structure and helped develop the products.